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Salon preview: Matthew James Briggs

Krzeminski's Star, for violin, marimba, and electronics
Centaurus X-3 (4U 1118-60) is an X-ray pulsar with a period of 4.84 seconds. It was the first X-ray pulsar to be discovered, and the third X-ray source to be discovered in the constellation Centaurus. The system consists of a neutron star orbiting a massive, O-type supergiant star dubbed Krzeminski’s star after its discoverer. Matter is being accreted from the star onto the neutron star, resulting in X-ray emission. (Wikipedia)

The idea that a gigantic star can exist out there, otherwise invisible to us except for a regular burst of X-ray radiation every 4.84 seconds, is truly spectacular. This piece attempts to characterize the sense of wonder and mystery of being such a small creature in such a large universe.

The piece has three internal movements in the form: slow-fast-slow. There is no silence between movements as the electronics make a sonic transition from one to the next.

The first movement sets up the mysterious mood. In the electronics, a wave of sound pulses every 4.84 seconds. NASA transmissions (from STS-31) are used to complete the space theme. The second movement retains a mysterious character but becomes a bit more playful with rhythmic hemiolas and unison melodic lines. The third movement returns to the character of the first as we again ponder the deep.

Matthew James Briggs received his Bachelor of Music from Indiana University where his mentor was Swedish composer Sven-David Sandström and his percussion teacher was Anthony Cirone. matthewjamesbriggs.com

Candice Chin received a BA in music and economics from the University of Washington, where she studied violin with Steven Staryk. She also earned an MBA/MA from the University of Cincinnati. Candice has played with the Northwest Symphony Orchestra, Octava Chamber Orchestra, and Seattle Modern Orchestra. She was a prizewinner in the chamber music category of the Seattle 2011 Russian Piano Festival. She is a member of Philharmonia Northwest, and a student of Martin Friedmann.

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